Friday, April 22, 2011

Was Karl Mark correct?

I've just read a great article in the Chronicle Review:

Terry Eagleton, "In Praise of Marx"

Here are some excerpts:

"There is a sense in which Marx's writing boils down to several embarrassing questions: Why is it that the capitalist West has accumulated more resources than human history has ever witnessed, yet appears powerless to overcome poverty, starvation, exploitation, and inequality? What are the mechanisms by which affluence for a minority seems to breed hardship and indignity for the many? Why does private wealth seem to go hand in hand with public squalor? ...[I]s it plausible to maintain that there is something in the nature of capitalism itself which generates deprivation...?"

"Socialism would not banish rivalry, envy, aggression, possessiveness, domination, and competition.... It is just that rivalry, aggression, and competition would no longer take the form of some bankers complaining that their bonuses had been reduced to a miserly $5 million, while millions of others in the world struggled to survive on less than $2 a day."

"Marx's goal is leisure, not labor.... Marx thought that capitalism had developed the forces of production to the point at which, under different social relations, they could be used to emancipate the majority of men and women from the most degrading forms of labor."

Yale just published Eagleton's new book, "Why Marx Was Right."

The best biography of Marx, in my opinion, is still the 1939 "Karl Marx: His Life and Environment" by Isaiah Berlin:

Another great thinker on justice is John Rawls, who published his great work around 30 years ago:

A piece I published about Rawls follows in my next posting.

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